Picture of athlete cycling

Open Access research with a real impact on health...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Physical Activity for Health Group based within the School of Psychological Sciences & Health. Research here seeks to better understand how and why physical activity improves health, gain a better understanding of the amount, intensity, and type of physical activity needed for health benefits, and evaluate the effect of interventions to promote physical activity.

Explore open research content by Physical Activity for Health...

Alkaline hydrolysis of trinitrotoluene, TNT

Mills, Andrew and Seth, Alison and Peters, Gavin (2003) Alkaline hydrolysis of trinitrotoluene, TNT. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 5 (18). pp. 3921-3927. ISSN 1463-9076

Full text not available in this repository. Request a copy from the Strathclyde author


The kinetics of the alkaline hydrolysis of trinitrotoluene, TNT, in an aqueous solution is a possible approach to destroying the active agent in unwanted munitions. The kinetics are shown to have a rapid initial step, step A, in which a highly coloured species, X (max=450 nm) is formed via an equilibrium reaction: TNT+OH-X. The bimolecular rate constant for the forward part of this equilibrium process, k1, is: 0.099±0.004, 0.32±0.02 and 1.27±0.05 dm3 mol-1 s-1, at 25, 40 and 60°C, respectively. The activation energy for the forward process is 60 kJ mol-1. The first-order rate constant for the reverse of this process, k-1, is: (5.3±2.6)×10-4, (1.2±1.0)×10-3 and (7.7±2.9)×10-3 s-1 at 25, 40 and 60°C, respectively. The activation energy for the overall equilibrium process (k1/k-1) is ca.-5 kJ mol-1. The subsequent alkaline hydrolysis of X to form the final product P, i.e. step B, is much slower than step A and appears to comprise two processes coupled in series, i.e. steps B1 (X+2OH-Z) and B2 (Z+OH-P). At 25°C, Step B1 appears rate determining throughout the decay process. At 45°C and, more so, at 60°C, step B appears increasingly biphasic with increasing alkaline concentrations, as step B2 begins to compete with step B1 for position as the rate determining step. The trimolecular rate constant for step B1 is: 0.017±0.001, 0.0085±0.0002 and 0.0011±0.0001 dm6 mol-2 s-1 at 25, 40 and 60°C, respectively, and the process has an activation energy of 64 kJ mol-1. The transition from uniform kinetics, described by step B1, to mixed kinetics, described by steps B1 and B2, as the reaction temperature and alkali concentration are increased most likely occurs because (a) step B2 has a lower activation energy than B1, although it was not possible to measure the former parameter, and (b) step B2 has a lower (1st) order dependence upon [OH-] compared with that of step B1 (2nd). The bimolecular rate constant for step B2 is 0.0035±0.03 dm3 mol-1 s-1 at 60°C. A brief NMR study of the initial hydrolysis product in water, acetone and chloroform, coupled with UV/visible spectra, provides evidence that species X is a Meisenheimer complex.